Space | 31. May 2010

Tests completed - the next TanDEM-X transmission will come from space

With finalisation of the functional tests for the satellite bus and instrument, we have reached another important milestone. Evaluation of the test data confirmed that everything was nominal. In one of the last tests, the satellite was powered up solely by its internal supply and the external power was switched off. This too was successful, so the satellite was turned off and the wiring to the electrical test equipment was removed – a slightly melancholic moment. The next time we receive a signal from the spacecraft it will be in orbit, having separated from the launcher.

But work of the team here in Baikonur is not done yet. Next up is 'combined operations', which includes the mating of the satellite with the launcher's upper stage.

After this success, the team used the weekend for a sightseeing trip to the world’s most frequently-used launch pad – Pad one, here in Baikonur. First used for the launch of Sputnik in 1957, it is still in operation – with more than 500 launches performed so far. This is most impressive. We finished our trip with a visit to the space museum, which houses the engineering model of Buran.

This will be my last blog post from Baikonur. I am returning to Germany to witness the launch from the German Space Control Center (GSOC) in Oberpfaffenhofen. My colleague Hermann Berg will replace me and continue blogging from Baikonur.